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Restaurants & Bars

Lone Palm at Night



I love good bars, no matter what they do. After some readings at Litquake the other night, I went to the Lone Palm, where I hadn’t been in years.

I drank Boont Amber ale and watched the two hardworking bartendresses handle the crowd. Nothing particular about the drinks jumped out at me (except that it was cool to get Boont on tap), but I loved the energy and the conviviality of a great neighborhood bar. And that’s what’s really important.


Golden Hour



I took this shot outside of Golden Boy Pizza in North Beach. The photo is not the greatest—as I sort of just snapped it as I was walking by—but I like its Hopper-esque feel. And I like its evocation of counter dining—one of my favorite ways to eat. There’s nothing like a beer and a slice at a crowded counter late at night.

Golden Boy Pizza
542 Green Ave.
415-982-9738

Seek Nua Experiences



After several months of trying, I finally made it by my friend David White’s  new (less than a year old) restaurant and wine bar Nua.

First of all, chef Anna Bautista’s menu was really excellent: we dined happily on such things as grilled octopus and chickpea salad, piquillo peppers stuffed with brandade and sardines with an eggplant caponata.

But what I’ve always admired about David White is his palate and his enthusiasm for the often overlooked wines of the world. He has a nose for well-balanced, interesting and—most important—well-priced wines. His list is full of them.

Taking the Fifth


The spirits course

Over the summer I got to know the two young chefs—Charlie Kleinman and Jake DesVoignes—who were promoted to top status after the departure of Melissa Perello. They’ve been running the Fifth Floor for most of the year.

The news is out now that, for some reason, the hotel hired Laurent Manrique to take over the famed destination restaurant, and he has in turn installed his choice, Jenny Lorenzo, in the head spot. (All this I learned from the most excellent Tablehopper, by the way.)

Spruce It Up

Spruce the long-awaited bar and restaurant on Sacramento Street in Laurel Village opened a couple of months ago. I finally had time to stop by and check out the cocktails and wine list at its exceedingly lovely bar.


The New Bacar …

… looks a lot like the old Bacar, but in fact it’s very different. I loved the old Bacar and the people who were involved in it, but I also have to say that it’s exciting to have such wholesale change. There’s a new chef, Robbie Lewis, who came over from Jardinere and a new wine director, the joyfully funereal Mickey Clevinger, who came from Frisson.


Champagne and Spices



I went to a bizarre little Szechuan restaurant in the Richmond the other day called Spices II. It was bizarre, not because of the food—which was quite interesting and good—but because of the goofy sort of “Hello Kitty”/schoolgirl-motif interior, and the robot-like schoolgirls who waited on our table.


New Zuni Wine Director



I love Zuni Café and could happily eat there every day of my life—if someone wouldn’t mind subsidizing me.

With the golden light that reflects off the towering white walls and the white paper tablecloths, the ambiance inside is wonderful. Furthermore, the food is consistently very good. The worst I ever have is something that doesn’t make me say “wow,” or perhaps a slightly overcooked chicken. Usually, everything is delicious. While in the past there have been some service issues, in the last couple of years I’ve had nothing but exemplary, warm service.

A Birthday to Remember

It was my friend Hannah’s birthday last Sunday, but I got a present too, which was being invited to the epic dinner thrown for her by her boyfriend David—with a huge assist from the amazing team at Rubicon, which opened specially on a Sunday for the occasion.


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